Third of June
It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta dayAnybody who remembers the summer and fall of 1967, knows that Bobbie Gentry's song, "Ode to Billie Joe," was a humongous hit—and this was before YouTube. The lyrics begin:
I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was balin' hayAnd at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eatDinner, as those of us from the south know, is the noon meal. And this is where I find fault with the "balin' hay" part of the lyrics—hay has to be raked before it's baled. Brother got the hay raked AND baled before noon? Here's some of our 20 acres of hay that was cut last Wednesday. It cured out on Thursday and Friday.
In the song, who raked it while brother went behind and baled? Daddy is plowing, mama is cooking, sister is chopping cotton—it's a mystery. What time did brother rake it? Granted it's a dusty day, but there'd likely be some dew on the grass in the morning that the sun would have to burn off before he started? He probably got started around 9 AM. Even if he had only 10 acres and a good tractor, he'd be raking for 2 and a half hours. Then he'd have to unhook the rake and attach the baler. Before he even started baling, it would be time for dinner.
I think the line should be this:
I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was rakin' hayThat would be a lot more logical. For those who weren't around in 1967, here's a video of Bobbie Gentry singing her mega-hit:
We've been making round bales for years, but I don't remember any round bales in the '60s. Even as late as the mid-80s, we made square bales. I don't remember round bales until sometime in the '90s. Round bales are so much easier—they can stay out in the field until picking them up—with a spear on the tractor—is convenient. They shed water, so getting rained on isn't a problem. Here are a few of our bales from Saturday's baling: